2Co 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. (14) And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (15) So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
Evil is deceptive. Evil people wear a disguise and present a persona that is false. Narcissists, for example, expend great energy virtually every waking moment to prop up their disguise. Their greatest terror is that who they really are will become known. So they control, they demand, they accuse, they flatter, they use, all with the intent of enforcing what we are required to know them as.
But we don’t know them.
I wanted to write about here what I suppose we could call those “aha!” moments that very briefly flash on our screen in which the true nature of the person behind the mask is revealed. I suppose that the most common initial reaction on our part at those times is confusion. Because what that flash of reality revealed did not fit with the image we thought was real. Because of this confusion and the wicked efforts of the counterfeit to quickly cover that mask slip, we very typically find ourselves clinging to the disguise for a long time – even for years and years – dismissing those mask slips as….what? Imperfections? Someone having a bad day? So we set them aside and move on.
This is why it is soooo vital that we all become much wiser regarding evil. Its nature. Its tactics. Its reality (because many people just simply refuse to believe that evil is common or that it even exists at all!). How many of us might have been delivered from the control and power lust of wicked people if we had just known. There it is – if I had only known.
It is not an easy thing to come into full focus about these things. We don’t want to believe that someone who had claimed to love us – never did. We want to please God and forgive others. We want to believe that given time, love will conquer all. But they never loved us. Not even God forgives the unrepentant schemer. Love does not conquer all. This is reality and these are the things that, when we really understand them, will set us free.
I can think of some “aha moments” I have experienced over the years that really stand out. Even those memorable moments did not bring what I was facing into full clarity, but they did serve to move me closer to that clarity. A friend told me one time when we were fishing, “You know, Jeff, there are two Richards (name changed to protect the guilty – I don’t know why). There is the Richard you know at church, and then there is the Richard I know and have to deal with through the week.” That took time to sink in, but it was followed up some months later when I myself witnessed Richard’s mask slip. It was as if an entirely different person was suddenly acting and speaking in that brief moment. And he was. It was the real Richard, and it wasn’t pretty. Other such moments include seeing an ugly smirk directed toward me by a “friend.” The smirk only lasted maybe one second, but I saw it. People who truly love us might get angry on rare occasion with us and lash out (soon to repent however) but they never regard us with despising contempt as revealed in that smirk.
These are the signs we would do well to pay closer attention to. They are indicators that a disguise is in play.